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European Commission concludes that higher emissions cuts would save money
The Guardian reports that the saving in fuel costs alone from higher cuts would be €20 billion a year.
18 January 2012
A leaked EU analysis report obtained by the Guardian allegedly states that the current EU target of reducing emissions by 20% by 2020 is already all but met. This is in part due to the efforts made in the past 10 years but also the impacts of the recession. The EU Commission is concerned that if the goal is no longer stretching then businesses and consumers will be more likely to continue making high-carbon investments in the next 10 years. The consequence is that it could cost far more to cut emissions from 2020-2050, when lower-carbon choices and deeper cuts will be needed to avoid dangerous climate change. The findings support Chris Huhne MP, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, who has given his vocal support for the tougher 30% target.
The Commission analysis found that Europe-wide it would cost about 0.5% of GDP to achieve a 30% emissions cut by 2020 (relative to 1990 levels). However, this figure is less than was previously forecast and doesn’t take into account the possible benefits of increased cuts such as lower air pollution, the build-up of the green economy and potential savings if fossil fuel prices soar in the coming decades. Contrary to this, powerful business lobbying groups in Brussels argue that going beyond the current goal of a 20% emissions cut by 2020 would be costly as other countries outside the EU are unlikely to raise their emissions goals. However, the report maintains that tougher EU targets on greenhouse gas emissions would present UK businesses with little problem.
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